Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Alyssa's Email (11/19/2014)

I loved hearing some of the updates! GO UTES! Can anyone tell me how XC is going/went? I don't know anything anymore haha. I love that Ukraine elder! He gave me hope that I could learn the language and that even though it won't be perfect, the spirit will testify through me! I want to see a picture of Hannah! Is she super blonde now our what? Platinum?! Haha what's the plans for the holidays?! I'm so glad to hear everyone is reading/rereading Mormons Bok! It is the most powerful tool we have for conversion! And we ourselves always need to be more converted.

The language, here's the thing. I am good at memorizing and pronunciation, so I can get my point across, but I really struggle with sentence structure and grammar, I understand it but applying it is terrible. So our teachers really cracked down on us for that this week, and I got really upset, because after you think of how to say it correctly, the moment is passed and it's really just not worth it. I know Heavenly Father will help me though, and hearing them speak it will help a lot as well. I was thinking of what I need, I need hats, boots, gloves, (warm stuff) socks... Can you send me insanity???? And maybe some Trio bars???? haha I am so needy. :) I'm thinking of what else I need! ummm....

This week was pretty rough to be honest. I got sick, and my companion got super sick. We went to the doctor three times, urgent care once, and the ER. I just got a stomach bug but she was in a lot of pain. When you're a missionary you're so sensitive to people's needs and feelings. So it was so hard to see people so sick and so sad. I feel like I'm starting to see them a little more like Heavenly Father does than I did before, with such love and such potential. Also, being out of the MTC made me think about what I'm going to be doing soon. I'm so excited and I already LOVE the people in Sweden so much!!!!!!

Ok so a cool story about following the spirit: We were teaching a pretend "less active member" (our teacher) and he told us how he hadn't come for 20 years and his wife wasn't a member she couldn't stand the church. So our pretend "member friend" said he felt inspired to say, "Will you come to church? And will you invite your wife?" I thought that was so weird because he just said how much his wife didn't like the church, but as he began explaining the story about his wife, I felt inspired to tell about how mom prayed for dad's heart to be softened and after a year of daily prayer, he was open to hearing more about it. And he said "Thank you for sharing that, that gives me so much hope!" So it was cool to see how the spirit knows what is needed, even when it doesn't logically make sense. I know it's fake, but that will be so crucial when I am teaching people. Language is not perfect. There is so much miscommunication in spoken language, and way more when I'll be speaking a second language. But the spirit is the only way this works. I don't know what people need, but God does. I'm not a powerful teacher, but the Holy Ghost is. Elder Bednar said that when investigators are asked about their experience with the missionaries they say "It was confusing, they talked about a bunch of different topics and Joseph Smith and it didn't make total sense." Elder Bednar asked them, "Then why did you have them come back?" And they say, "Because of how I felt." 

Last night was fantastic. LINDA K BURTON CAME! Who is my hero!!!!!!! And she talked all about the Atonement and said "Jesus Christ is the bridge between Heaven and Earth." He truly is. It reminded me of a time I was talking to Hannah about the Atonement years ago. "Hannah you know that through Christ we can be forgiven for our sins and be clean again, right?" "Yeah, I know that!" "Do you know that because of Christ we can have strength when things are hard? And feel better when we had a bad day? If we pray he can give us peace?" And her eyes got big and she was so fascinated, "Really?" I remember I just loved Hannah so much, I wanted her to know that she never has to go through difficulties alone! She can ALWAYS rely on Christ, who knows and loves us perfectly. We all can. I thought about all the change the gospel requires of people, and I really will be asking for people to change their lives, but it's all out of love! When we are converted and when we truly love people, we will WANT to share that knowledge of our Savior and his Redeeming and Enabling power, and that we are not alone. 

I love you all so much! :) Have a fantastic week! I CAN'T WAIT TO TALK TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And skype soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Work and My Glory (11/12/14)

HEY! I am really excited because I have great pictures to send this week. Tender mercy of the week, one of them, I have ALWAYS wanted a yellow pea coat right? So I see this girl with a super cute one and I compliment it and she says "Do you want it? I am going to Africa and don´t have any room!" So I now have this really pretty yellow pea coat haha. I love my clothes. 

Äldste Bradshaw made me a workout #TheStriplingWarrier and I did 300 rows the other day. It was terrible haha. A couple other funny things, I am on the top bunk and I definitely fell off haha. I hit my shin so hard it turned blue. My companion calls me the flying squirrel haha. We realized we leave in two weeks and we can explain what a dispensation is but we don´t know how to say "Let´s go to breakfast" Haha. I got a HUGE compliment on my Swedish. A lady from TRC thought I was a Swede after our small talk. I really wanted to stop talking after that haha, she quickly realized I am not a Swede. I did an evaluation of my Swedish and everyone laughed at me because my teacher said my accent is great except when I say Elko, Nevada it just goes hick haha. 

Ok, my real tender mercy of the week was yesterday. I was feeling sick and Syster Griffes suggested that I get a blessing. My first thought was "No, I´m fine." But then I decided I should. And I am so glad I did. I got a blessing from two 18 year olds in my district, and the first put too many drops of oil on my head and was trying not to laugh and kept apologizing and I just sighed haha. But when they put their hands on my head and started speaking, I honestly couldn´t believe what I was hearing. Everything I had prayed for, pondered, and studied in personal study was addressed. Exact words from my patriarchal blessing were quoted. My questions were answered, that I didn´t tell anyone! All he knew was that I had a stomach ache. I learned so much from that experience. I learned how much God loves me. I learned that I should never be reluctant to receive a blessing. I learned how real the Priesthood is and how close God is when a blessing or ordinance is administered.  I learned it is not us that ever teaches anything meaningful. Our job is too invite the spirit. "But we must be careful to remember in our service that we are conduits and channels; we are not the light." 
Men: I hope you always feel ready and worthy to throw on a suit coat and be a channel for the Lord.

So Elder Holland gave the most powerful talk in the world. We watched it Sunday night for our movie. He just spoke about why his mission was so important to him, and why it should be important to us, and how we should give it our aboslute all. How we should walk away from the nets  (as Peter did) and not have any regrets. My favorite things he said:

Moses 1:39 is God´s purpose.  

39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

He suggested that we become so involved in the work, that this work becomes OUR purpose too, along with God´s. To the point where we can say this is my work too. He also gave many examples of Christ and amazing missonaries that astonished people. He invited us to go out and astonish people, through the power of the Holy Ghost. 

I absolutely loved the quote you gave! I love all the growth and change I, and all those around me have experienced. My quote for you is 

"If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service, because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right, to bear us up. And He alwayskeeps His word." 

That talk is called "Mountains to Climb" and it´s incredible.

Jag älskar ni så mycket. Jag saknar ni också. Jag vet att Jesus Kristus är vår frälsare. Hans försoning kan hjälpa oss alltid och hjälpa oss att återvända att vår Himelska Fader. 


Syster Stetler

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Alyssa's Email (11/5/14)

This was the best week yet! Thanks for sending pictures, I love knowing what's going on! I miss you all so much. 

I did an English fast for 6 hours! It was seriously hilarious. Everyone was making fun of me a ton because they get the idea, but the direct translation is not right at all. I even had a debate with and Elder, all in Swedish! And we explained to our "investigator" what a dispensation was and all about the apostasy, so that was straining our Swedish quite a bit. A funny Swedish story. I'm doing my flashcards, and Elder Demourdant is freaking out, "You know how to say apostasy?! And essential? Plan of salvation?!? You need to see my flashcards." He goes and grabs them, I read through them and here's what they said "Can you repeat that?" "What did you say?" "Can you say that slower?" "In English please?" I absolutely lost it... That's what the goobers get for not studying very much! I feel like I'm a good example to them, because I work so hard, but I have SO much fun also. You can definitely do both!

I did temple sealings! I thought about how I was a tiny baby! It was so beautiful. I am SO happy we are sealed as a family forever. I am so thankful for that every day. 

I don't even know where to start. We did TRC for the first time last Thursday! We taught an actual nonmember, from Sweden. We couldn't hardly understand her so we didn't know she was a nonmember haha. But we taught her about prayer and I taught her about Alma and their afflictions in Mosiah 24 and she just looked at me with big eyes and said, "I'm going to mark that, I love that." It was really awesome.

As for our fake investigators, I learned SO MUCH. Sam is our investigator from Africa. I taught him about the Book of Mormon and told him how my favorite part was when Jesus came to the Americas and he just loved that idea, that Christ loves all his children, and he would want to visit them all, so I also read him 3 Nephi 16:1-3. My appreciation for the scriptures has grown so much. Quick story:

So Syster Griffes is in my Swedish trio, and she is SO diligent. She works really hard and is always focusing and always is exactly obedient, the things I often struggle with. So I just was comparing myself, and I thought we both thought she was a better missionary than me altogether. But we were all sharing what we learned in personal study and I told them how I was studying based off my Patriarchal Blessing and how much I felt like God was teaching me through the scriptures, and gave a few examples. She just so sincerely told me she was amazed with my knowledge of the scriptures after only reading the Book of Mormon once, and how I receive answers through it. This is coming from a girl that has read everything over and over, and taken an institute class on everything. I am not trying to brag, it's just amazing how we have different strengths, and how we can let God strengthen our weaknesses, I never used to know the scriptures. That was my tender mercy of the week. Along with:

We taught "Haydar" as well. He wasn't interested in anything. He didn't believe in God, he didn't want to pray, he didn't want any of it, until we taught him about the Atonement. "He did that? I can really become clean again? I did some bad things, I feel like I have so much weight on my shoulders. Is this true?" Could there be a better reminder of why I'm here? Brother Whitworth said, "I struggled at first on my mission. I struggled telling people how they need to change, until I had the realization, all I'm telling them to do is be happy." He also pointed out that after 600 years of Christ being prophesied about, the first words out of his mouth were about baptism. If people could only understand that we aren't out to make people like us, count numbers, grow our church, we are out because the gospel makes us happy, and we want others to know that happiness also. The peace, joy, and strength, the hope, the love, the comfort of the spirit, the reality of Christ, the knowledge that families can be together forever.

I love you all so much! I'm super scattered brained so this email might be terrible. I hope you're getting an idea of what things are like and what I'm learning! I miss you tons!

Syster Stetler

What think ye of Christ? (10/29)

Hello family! I wrote you all a letter so I hope you get that soon! Make sure to send this to Jenni too because I forgot her email.

If Anders got me some referrals, I would be the happiest girl in the world. Who has connections to Sweden? That's right. My brother does. I'm so happy Dad and Zach got to go hunting. It's nice to get away sometimes, I'm actually really jealous! What are your plans for Thanksgiving? You all know mine, flying to Sweden! So you asked about the exercise, there are two Swede Aldstes that are crazy about exercise so sometimes I do workouts with them. Sometimes I run on the track, I ran a 6:40 mile and was happy about it, pretty pathetic. My arms are actually getting bigger from pull-ups and push-ups so that's pretty awesome. I couldn't go anywhere for exercise this week really because my companion has been sick so I just jumped rope in the hall. I love my exercise bands too. If you could send me vitamins that would be awesome! The food is hit and miss here so I feel like I could use some. Also, my asthma has been really pretty bad. I think I got dehydrated so I started drinking a ton of water (and yes, salt too Mom! :)) so that's helping some, but if you could pray for that, it would be fantastic. And Dad, I'm sorry BYU football is going terribly. I would love for you to go to a UTAH game, I think you'd really love it. And please keep Dear Elder-ing me! I look forward to it soooo much! Everyone hates me because I always have Dear Elders and packages :) (Ma sent me some chocolate!)

So this week was kind of crazy! Most of our zone is gone (Dutchies), so now it's just Swedes and Nords basically, and we are the oldest even though we've all only been here two weeks. My district is an incredibly good district, we work so hard, and both the zone leaders and STLs are in my district so we've been even more dedicated and focused with their calls. We also got a new branch president, and he reminds me just of President Hinckley! He looks just like him and smiles all the time like him. I'm excited about the changes, we will welcome in so many new Dutchies today.

So the highlight of my week was Sister Wixom (Primary General President) coming, last night. So first, some background of my week and how she was an answer to my prayers:

I started thinking about the theme in conference which I think was "care more about what God thinks than what man thinks." I started thinking about all my weaknesses and what makes me upset, and it all has to do with focusing on what people think, such as comparing myself, seeking praise, and so on. It hit me so hard, I am not really worrying about what God thinks of me, and making decisions based off that. I remembered what the President Fitts said, "Look to your Patriarchal blessing for a better understanding of who you are." Do you remember that? So as I read, I learned it talks about being close to him or coming to him for strength 13 times. To me, that's a ton. I've started asking myself during the day, "How can I please Him?" and it has led me to so much happiness. I also read this scripture that went along with the same idea, 2 Nephi 3:8
talking about Joseph Smith and it stood out to me so much, "will make him great in mine eyes." We don't make ourselves great in his eyes. I want to Him to make me great in his eyes.

So Sister Wixom talked about Christ. She kept asking, "What think ye of Christ?" She told a story when she was a missionary at a grocery store and a man said "That man on your chest is my best friend." And she said, "He's my best friend too." And he said, "I can tell by how you talk to your daughter." SO POWERFUL. First, is Christ your best friend? Second, how do you let people know? Something to think about. 

I hope someone can let President Fitts know that he was absolutely inspired when I got set apart. The three things he said that stood out to me this week were 1. obey the rules even when you don't intellectually understand 2. learn who you are from your patriarchal blessing and 3. learn from your companions

I am learning so much from my companion, teachers, and people in my zone. I love them and I love the friendship we have in the gospel, but I want you all to know that the time I spend in personal study is the most precious time I spend here. I feel that God really speaks to me here, and teaches me and corrects me. I value that. I know it's much harder for you all, but I hope you can set aside some really disciplined, uninterrupted time with your Heavenly Father. He has so much to teach you, and nothing is more important. 

I'm doing really well. I wish you were all here with me. I miss you all so much and I know I'm going to have a really hard time during the holidays, but I hope you have so much fun! 

I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. We watched the movie this week and I could never deny the testimony I've gained of the restoration of the gospel. The Book of Mormon is such evidence of the divine calling Joseph had. The Book of Mormon is true, and has answers upon answers in it's text. I hope you're taking advantage of the time God can speak with you through the Book of Mormon. I know God blesses his missionaries. It's such a wonderful thing to know that the world is praying for us, and we qualify for so many blessings when we wear this name tag. The spirit is here so strong. This church is true, and Christ stands at its head. There is no greater cause to live and endure for than building up His kingdom on Earth. 

Let me know what you think of my emails, I hope I'm telling you things you want to hear. I just feel like what I've learned is the most important. Swedish is going so well!!!! It's been a blast to learn it. I think I'm going to try a day in all Swedish here soon, wish me luck. 

Also, Candace got her mission call!?!?!?!?!? Tell her to write me, I want to hand write her. She is such a powerful example. Try to think of more that's going on! I feel out of the loop!

Love you all so much,

Syster Stetler